Friday, December 28, 2012

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001) Review

It all starts here. It's finally time that we take a look at one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Not big as in that it's long (it's only 8 films long) but that's insanely popular. It lasted exactly 10 years (2001-2011) so there is quite a lot of ground to cover...okay, this review will be as long as any other one but I was just trying to make things special. So, has this giant film franchise aged well...after 11 years (does anything even age after that long?). Let's find out!

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is an 11 year old boy who is stuck with his horrible Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw). Harry discovers that he is actually a young wizard and is sent invitations to attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Vernon tries his best to get the letters away from Harry but the groundskeepers of Hogwarts, Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), is sent to retirieve Harry and the two of them depart to Hogwarts. After making new friends, Ron Wealsey (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Harry discovers that a villain named Voldemort is out to get revenge on Harry for something Harry doesn't even remember. Now Harry and his friends must surive their first year at Hogwarts and stop Voldemort from returning.

We all know this film. If you haven't heard of Harry Potter...I don't think even living under a rock would suffice. Everyone has. It's impossible not to have. Does that mean it instantly has to be good. No, of course not. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone earns it's goodness. It introduces us into an amazing world with lots of great magic and creatures that are seen. Hogwarts is an amazing place and the use of special effects and some amazing sets and make up really help bring the world of Harry Potter alive. The characters also help this as they fit in with the world. The headmaster, Dumbledore (Richard Harris), looks like a wizard should and Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) looks like a witch should (you know, a witch that isn't an ugly hag). It's so cliché that it's not cliché (yeah, that's not totally confusing at all).

Normally when you have child actors who haven't really that much experience they are really, really annoying...or bad. This is not the case here. The three stars are excellent, especially Daniel Radcliffe who clearly was into the role (and who wouldn't be!) especially in the climax. I was surprised at how good this film was when I went back and watched it, especially with the child actors. Whoever the casting director was, you done good. Congratulations.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a great introduction to the Harry Potter franchise. It's full of so many good things such as the magic aspect and the actors that protray some very iconic characters. Harry Potter has become one of the biggest franchises of all time (books and films included) and this film does the source material justice. If you haven't seen this film yet...what the hell?

Verdict:
8.5/10
A great start to one of the biggest film franchises of all time. The actors are great and the magic that is shown is juts wonderful.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WALL·E (Andrew Stanton, 2008) Review

Ehh, Boxing Day. Christmas has come and gone and I hope you enjoyed it (I certainly did) but it's now time to unwind and relax. I was originally going to review The Fighter for boxing day but I realised that I haven't actually seen it. Maybe next year. So what other bad pun could I do? How about a film about a box. That was terrible, I apologise. Anyway, let's get on with WALL·E (Yes, I managed to get the dot).

In the distant future, Earth has been evacuated and there is no life left. Earth is full of garbage and a robot called WALL·E (Ben Burtt) who was designed to clean up the rubbish. WALL·E is facinated by objects from our time such as lighters, rubix cubes and, his favourite, a VHS of Hello Dolly. One day, another robot called EVE (Elissa Knight) is sent to Earth in order to find signs of life and WALL·E falls in love with her. WALL·E finds a plant and gives it to EVE but EVE is then transported to a ship called the Axiom with WALL·E in pursuit. The Axiom is home to the humans who are now obese as a result of easy living and no need to move. EVE has to get the plant to the Captain (Jeff Garlin) but the ships auto pilot, AUTO (Macintalk), has other plans.

Other than the Toy Story trilogy, WALL·E is probably my favourite Pixar film...well...was. I went back and re watched it recently and it wasn't as good as I remember it. The first half hour set on Earth is really, really good. We get to see Earth in the future and there is little to no talking and leaves it up to the visuals. Things get a bit worse when WALL·E and EVE get taken to the Axiom as it gets pretty boring which is ironic considering they're on a space ship. While characters like the Captain, AUTO and MO (Ben Burtt) are good, everything else falls flat.

That's it for the bad stuff, the rest is good. The story is great and it is good to see the contrast of the future of Earth and the Axiom as well as bringing in the idea of what would realistically happen to humans in the future. All the characters have great personality and are likeable (especially WALL·E and MO) and AUTO may be cool, in terms of villains, it's a bit boring. The rest is good though

WALL·E features lots of things that are really good but also a lot of bad things too. It's sad because this was my favourite Pixar film but...not any more  So to those you think this is the best Pixar film...err... re watch it. It's nowhere near the worst, probably in the top five but it's not the best. Join me next time where we dive into a VERY popular film franchise.

Verdict: 
8/10
A little bit worse tan I remember but still a great film. One of Pixar's best...not the best but ONE of the best.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, 1992) Review

Well, It's Christmas Eve (and for those who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays!) so I thought I would share you the definitive film that I watch every Christmas Eve night...followed by the Blackadder Christmas Special, just because. Now I know what you're thinking, "The Muppets...doing A Christmas Carol?". I'm sure you think it's stupid and that it could no way be a Christmas classic. Well, is it or isn't it? Let's find out!

In Victorian London, Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is a hated man by all the people in town because of his cheap and cruel personality. One night, he is visited by the ghosts of his business partners Jacob and Robert Marley (Waldorf and Statler) who warn Scrooge about three more ghosts who will visit him in on Christmas Eve night. He is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Jessica Fox), Present (Don Austen) and Future (I...don't even know?). Scrooge must learn about the spirit of Christmas and try to change his life for the better.

To me, this is the film that just SCREAMS Christmas. I love this film and watch it every year. Michael Caine is one of the best Scrooge's to hit the screen and strangely works well along side the Muppets. Kermit the Frog acts as Bob Cratchit with Miss Piggy as his wife. It surprisingly works and, while this film does contain typical Muppets humour mostly supplied by Gonzo and Rizzo being the narrators, is surprisingly touching. I guess it's par for the course when people adapt 'A Christmas Carol'. This is a good film to bring the family together.

If there were any problems, I guess it's more for other people than me. I for one love The Muppets but those who don't will probably not like this film. They'll like some of it (Michael Caine as Scrooge for example) but there are a lot of Muppets in this film. But on the plus side there is...a lot on the plus side. I mentioned the themes and characters but there are other great things like the musical numbers, which are memorable and catchy, and the original characters.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is easily my favourite Christmas film and also my favourite Christmas Carol adaptation. While it isn't the most accurate version of A Christmas Carol, there's still alot of great moments in this film that will easily wash over the flaws of the film and is surprisingly heart-warming  Do yourself a favour and watch this film this Christmas.

Verdict:
9/10
The best version of 'A Christmas Carol' though not the most accurate (for obvious reasons) and if very heart-warming

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009) Review

GET IT! BECAUSE IT'S A THING! END OF THE WORLD IS A THING SO IT'S THEREFORE RELEVANT! Don't worry, my caps lock isn't stuck, I'm just emphasising the point as to why I am reviewing this film. Because on this very day, we are all supposed to die but I cannot confirm this considering, you know, It kind of hasn't happened yet but hopefully by the time you read this, you'll know,. Because...you'll either be alive or dead...screw it IS THIS A GOOD FILM OR NOT?! Let's find out!

Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has found that unpredictable solar storms are on the way which is causing the Earth's core to heat up. Helmsley warns the US President (Danny Glover) about the oncoming disaster and that they need to make preparation or else everyone will be killed in the disaster. Writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) learns about the news and that arks are being made to keep select humans safe. Jackson manages to convince his ex-wife (Amanda Peet), her boyfriend (Thomas McCarthy) and his kids to join him as he tries to escape across the world.

Well, guess what. It sucks. Yeeaahhh, this films REALLY sucks. Now I'm sure you all think it looks cool and, yeah, it does look pretty cool but that means nothing when the rest of the film is just bad. There are only a few engaging characters, it's predictable (what do you think happens to half of the characters. Go ahead, guess!) and was just use as paranoia fuel for people. The characters wouldn't be such a problem if they didn't focus on the one character who lacks any personality and the rest of the film just comes off as generic.

...any good points? Errrr, it looks good? Well, okay, I did say there were some characters I did like such as Jackson's ex-wife's boyfriend, Gordon, and Woody Harrelson's role...even though he was wasted on this film. Come on, this is the same guy that was in No Country For Old Men. That film was amazing and then we get...this film. Not a good step. Did I mention that I hate this film?

2012 is just a stupid film. The writing is crap and based on an uninspired event (THEY DIDN'T EVEN COME UP WITH ANYTHING!!!), the characters, for the most part, are generic and lack personality and the film is very predictable. Do yourself a favour and spend your supposed last day (which I still call 'bulls**t' on") watching a much better film. What film? ANY FILM!!!

Verdict:
2/10
A crap film. Predictable, poorly written, uninspired and full of underdeveloped characters. Sure, it looks cool but looks aren't everything if everything else is...you know, bad.


The world better not end. Why?
BECAUSE WE JUST HIT 20,000 PAGE VIEWS!
I just wanted to say thanks and I hope we're not dead....doesn't seem like it so far though so....yeah....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003) Review

We had a bad Christmas film, an American Christmas film so I think it's time to look at a British Christmas film. There were many I could pick but I decided to go with this one. This is going to be a rather obscure review as the plot synopsis is going to be a bit weird. Anyone who's seen this film would know why and, for those who haven't, this is why. The film is telling multiple stories that are connected through the relationships of the characters so...errr...let's go?...Ok...

So these stories are simultaneous and are as brief as I can get them:
1) The new Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) has officially started his work in 10 Downing Street and meets the people who will work for him. Among them is Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) who the Prime Minister is quickly smitten for her.
2) Harry (Alan Rickman) is an office manager who manages to catch the attention of his employee, Mia (Heike Makatsch), who begins to fall for him. Harry's Wife, Karen (Emma Thompson), begins to grow suspicious and fears the worst for their relationship.
3) Karen's friend, Daniel (Liam Neeson) has just lost his wife and his step son, Sam (Thomas Sangster), is feeling depressed. Daniel learns that Sam is in love with one of his class mates (Olivia Olsen) and the two band together to try and win her over.
4) Ageing pop star, Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is trying to get his song 'Christmas is all around' to be Christmas Number 1 despite not giving to craps about the song (he did it for the money).
5) After his girlfriend cheats on him, Jaime (Colin Firth) leaves England to live in France so he can continue his writing. He is introduced to his Portuguese housekeeper, Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), and, despite not speaking the same languages, the relationship between the two grows stronger.
And many, many more...

Well that was a mouthful. Anyway, one thing you may have noticed is the amazing cast. All the stories have at least one famous actor and they are all great. It's also good to see actors not being type cast such as Alan Rickman who is surprisingly a torching character and this film has one of my favourite Liam Neeson roles. This film makes me appreciate the tremendous British cast as well as the genius of Richard Curtis. He managed to create some great characters as well as balance the multiple stories at the same time. Truly a great feat.

It is a Christmas film so it's a good film to watch on the build up to Christmas as this film takes place over the five weeks before Christmas. I'm not spoiling anything by saying that Rowan Atkinson's role as Rufus was originally supposed to be a Christmas angel and I wish they went with that idea as it really pushed the Christmas message. Well, despite that idea cut out, it's still a heart-warming film that is a great family film. Seeing all the different families and the way they celebrate Christmas is a great thing.

Love Actually may not be an original idea since I'm sure the idea of having multiple stories isn't entirely new but it's mastered here. The amazing cast only furthers improve the film and leads to a great climax, especially in Daniel's story. Well, that's Love Actually and there is one more Christmas film left for this year and that will be on Christmas Eve. What film is on Friday then? Look at the date, I'm pretty sure it's obvious.

Verdict:
9/10
Does the 'multiple story' idea well and is one of the most heart-warming films I've ever seen. One hell of a cast, too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson, 2012) Review

I knew it was a good idea to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy this year. I knew that my friends wanted to see this film so I thought "eh, might as well catch up" and, in case you missed my reviews, I loved the trilogy. Now it's time to go back 60 years before the events of the trilogy because...it was a book, I guess. Better than forcing sequels I guess. Anyway, is this one as good as the rest of the series? Let's find out.

So 60 years before the events of Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is greeted by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) who wishes to find someone to help the Dwarves reclaim their land from Smaug the Terrible who is...a giant dragon. Kind of hard to fight off. That night, a group of Dwarves enter Bilbo's home and are joined by Gandalf. They try to convince Bilbo to join them but is reluctant until he finally agrees and the group go off to fight Smaug. On their journey, they have to face the Orc army who are out to stop them. Now Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves must make it tErebor in one piece so they can reclaim their land.

Now I know that the Tolkien fan boys will love this film and think it'll be the best film of the year. Yeaaah...nooo...maybe? I went in wanting to see certain things and, while I got what I wanted, there were a few things that left be thinking "Oh...that's a bit stupid". Certain character such as Radagast the Brown (Slyvester McCoy) were just annoying and it does start off too slowly and drags a bit but once they get to Rivendell, things REALLY pick up!

I make it sound like it's a bad film. NO! No, of course not. It's a great film. Martin Freeman is great as the new (er...old?) Bilbo Baggins and it was nice to see old Bilbo (Ian Holm) in the prologue. Gandalf is my favourite character in this film because we get to see more of him here than we do in the first trilogy which means he gets some really amazing moments. Speaking of amazing moments, this film has them. Two of my favourite scenes are the 'Riddles in the Dark' scene with Bilbo and Gollum (Andy Serkis) and the EPIC ROCK GIANT FIGHT!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a good film but it's a little bit underwhelming at times. I think there have been better films this year such as Skyfall and Looper but this is still a good watch. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it but it's not a must see. It's just a good time. Now, how far should I run to escape the Tolkien fan boys because I'm sure they'll be mad that I didn't give this the utmost praise? I'm sure I'll be around to review another Christmas film for you.

Verdict:
8.5/10
A LITTLE bit underwhelming but the rest was exactly what I wanted to see. Martin Freeman is great as the lead and the things seen on the journey are pretty damn amazing.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Polar Express (Robert Zemeckis, 2004) Review

More Christmas. It's always a good thing, right? So anyway we have The Polar Express which was a film that was made during Robert Zemeckis' obsession of using motion capture suits in order to make his films as opposed to using real actors...kind of. Well, It's time to take a look at another Christmas film that I watch every year. Does that mean It's a good thing? Let's find out!

On the night of Christmas Eve, a young boy (Daryl Sabara) is woken up in the night by a train that stops right out side of his house. He is greeted by the train conductor (Tom Hanks) and is told that the train comes to those who doubt in the existence of Santa Claus (Tom Hanks) and are taken to the North Pole to meet him. The boy decides to go on the train to see if Santa is really real or not. He is joined by a young girl (Nona Gaye) and a nerdy kid (Eddie Deezen) who also have their doubts about Santa and from there, the journey to the North Pole begins.

This is Tom Hanks the movie. Why? Because Tom Hanks plays the majority of the characters in the film. He plays the conductor, Santa, the hobo on the train, the boy's dad and so on and so forth. I have no idea why but he is his good old self and therefore is pretty good. The other actors are alright. Eddie Deezen brings his usual nerdy self (you might know him as Mandark in Dexter's Laboratory) but the other kids are...tolerable...just.

Sure, it looks amazing and there are some great looking scenes but this film has some problems. The first two thirds of the film are really good (well, except the spontaneous and pointless musical number) but once it hits the last third, things really slow down and start to drag...and it's stupid because elves are introduced. Oh god do I hate elves but these ones are especially bad. It's a shame too because normally the climax is the best part of a film...not this time.

The Polar Express is an amazing looking film and the idea of children's faith in Santa is actually quite a good idea although it's not exactly an original idea. Tom Hanks is clearly having fun with the role and there are some memorable characters. There are problems with the film that do almost kill it but there is more good than bad. I watch this every year just because of how great it looks! I would recommend that you watch this at least once.

Verdict:
7/10
An interesting film that, while has some stupid moments, looks amazing and has more Tom Hanks than you can handle!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jingle All the Way (Brian Levant, 1996) Review

So here's the plan. A Christmas film today, Friday, next Wednesday and Christmas Eve. Four Christmas films for you? 'Tis the season, after all. You would have thought that I start with a classic such as It's A Wonderful Life but nope, I decided to be unconventional and begin with one of the stupidest concepts for a Christmas films...ever: it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger...is this actually as bad as it sounds or is it a nice Christmas surprise. I think you know the answer to that and if you don't, well, let's find out....was this seriously the best film I could start with?

It's coming up to Christmas so Howard Langstom (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a workaholic family man, wants to make up for missing his son's (Jake Lloyd) sports game. Howard asks his son, Jaime, what he wants for Christmas. He wants an action figure of his favourite hero, Turboman, but there is one problem: it's sold out EVERYWHERE! Howard goes everywhere to try and find it with no hope and ends up competing to find the last one with a postman named Myron Larabee (Sinbad) who also wants it for his son. Howard now has to find the toy, get it before Myron and also make it to an annual parade with his family just like he promised.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is in a Christmas film...what more can I say? Really? I honestly have no idea where to go from here...uh...he does deliver some good one liners like...er..."PUT THE COOKIE DOWN, NOW!". Okay, let's ignore Arnie and move on. Sinbad initially starts off very annoying and a bit over the top but you get used to him and he does supply one of the funniest moments of the film but on the other end of the scale is Jake Lloyd. God do I hate this kid. He ruined Star Wars after all. While Sinbad got better, Lloyd...did not. Phil Hartman plays the Langstom's neighbour and is his usual self but, you know what, it works. Hartman was good at playing the cocky yet seemingly perfect guy and doesn't dissapoint here...except the fact that he's in this film.

So how Christmassy is it? Well, it focuses more on the materialised aspect of Christmas as well as focus on family but really it's all about one toy so it is really just a kids film. It's a stupid, stupid movie which is clearly evident at the climax (seriously, how stupid can you get?!). There are some good and funny moments but this isn't the film for you if you're looking for a heartwarming family film. It's good for a quick laugh though...mostly laughing at how bad it is.

Jingle All the Way is, I'll be honest, a guilty pleasure. Despite all I've said, I do stick this on every year mainly because it's a fun film. Does that mean it's good? Of course not. It is a bad film but there are just some films that are so bad that they're good. This is one of them. I think it's mainly down to "what did I expect? It's Arnie in a Christmas film!" but if you're up for a quick laugh, check it out but otherwise, avoid it.

Verdict:
5/10
What can I say except....Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Christmas film.....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, 2009) Review

Well, everyone is going mad over the sequel actually getting some promotion and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't excited. Sure, it's not top of my list but just the idea of Benedict Cumberbatch of being a part of it has to account for something, right? With that in mind, I thought it has high time that we take a look at the film that brought Star Trek back into the public eye. Is it truly that good or just overrated? Let's find out!

After the birth of James Kirk, his father (Chris Hemsworth) is killed in an effort to stop an unknown alien enemy while on the search for Ambassador Spock who is also a child on the planet Vulcan. Did I not mention the alien enemy, named Nero (Eric Bana), could time travel? Twenty Five years later, Kirk (Chris Pine) is now a trouble maker  however he is challenged by Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to join the Starfleet in order to see his potential. He is joined by Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhara (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) but trouble brews when Nero returns. Now the Starship Enterprise and it's crew must save the galaxy from Nero.

First, let's be honest, this wouldn't be that great if it weren't for the Star Trek licence. It would just be another Sci-Fi film with explosions everywhere. What makes it good is the characters and what they go through. Okay, Nero is a bit of a bland villain but characters like Kirk and Scotty (Simon Pegg) are actually quite funny. That wins points in a film like this. I don't like it when they take themselves too seriously so having characters with great writing helps make things better. Not a fan of Quinto though...

Well I might as talk about the action since that's what 3/4 of the film is. It's a bit generic. All it is is space ships exploding most of the time. Unlike other bland sci-fi films, there are some interesting scenes such as the orbital skydiving scene. It was pretty damn cool especially when seeing it in the cinemas. The biggest problem is just how unoriginal it is. The main reason that this isn't a bad film (other than the Star Trek) is the characters and anything OTHER than the bland action (you know, excluding those exceptions),

Star Trek was a nice attempt at breathing new life into the franchise and while it does seem a bit generic at times, it was still a blast. Sure it's not perfect but, despite it's flaws, I still enjoyed this and am excited for the sequel....mainly for Cumberbatch but...still.....okay I'm done here. You want some Christmas reviews? I might get on that...

Verdict:
6.5/10
An enjoyable film but has many flaws. The good things include the characters and some great scenes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) Review

I think it's finally time to review a film from Alfred Hitchcock, don't you think. He's one of the most iconic directors of all time (and a film based on him with Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock) so it only figures that I finally get round to one of his films. Which one? One of the first Hitchcock films I ever saw, Strangers on a Train. How well does it stack up compared with his more famous ones? Let's find out.

Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) has a plan to finally get rid of his father but it involves tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) who Bruno met while on a train ride. They agreed to 'criss-cross' murders so that there would be not connection between these two strangers....on a train.Naturally, Guy thinks that Bruno is joking and simply humours him. Turns out thought that Bruno was serious and goes through with it. Now the police grow suspicious of Haines and now has to prove that Bruno had a influence on a murder...go and guess who the murderer is...no really.

It's a bit of a simple idea but it works well. It leads to a suspenseful film which is par for the course with Hitchcock. This is mostly down to the two characters. Guy Haines is a very naive person who is just trying to get on with his life while Bruno Anthony is an insane person who has no problem with murder. That contrast is excellent and is the main driving force of the movie. Grant Walker is excellent as Bruno and, while Farley Granger is a bit bland, he's still a good character.

There are some excellent scenes, especially he action scenes. This is both a dialogue driven and action driven film so it's fine for a general audience. It's a very good looking film and Hitchcock clearly knew what he was doing when making this film (considering he has a cameo appearance as always) and is a better film for it. Sure the secondary cast is a bit bland but everything else is good.

I think that this is one of the better Hitchcock films but is sadly overlooked. Most people just watch Psycho and The Birds. The idea is great, the actors are pretty good for the most part and it's full of suspense. If you haven't seen this film, I would recommend that you check it out especially if you're a fan of Hitchcock or just suspenseful films in general.

Verdict:
8/10
A suspenseful film with some great acting. There are a few aspects that seem a bit bland and dated but nothing that will sour the film.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Click (Frank Coraci, 2006) Review

Today we're looking at an Adam Sandler movie. No, wait, COME BACK! I can assure you that this one isn't like his other ones. Yes, I agree he has done some terrible films (Jack & Jill being the worst...*shudder*) but can you believe that he actually made some entertaining films. Waterboy is an example of an Adam Sandler film done right but some people think that the character is stupid. So let's look at a film where he's being as normal as possible. Is this one of the good ones? Let's find out!

Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is a workaholic family man who puts work before family in order to please his boss (David Hasselhoff). Because he lacks time to cover both work and family, he wishes that he had a remote that controlled his life. Enter Morty (Christopher Walken), a bizzare man who gives Michael a universal remote. Michael simply believes it just controls devices but quickly learns that it can control his life too. He can fast forward, skip, mute and even change the language of his life. He enjoys every moment of it until the remote goes horribly wrong.

My God is this an emotional film. I went in thinking that this was just a stupid comedy film but it's really not. It's a surprisingly serious film (that's not to say there's no humour. This is Adam Sandler after all) that almost borders on depressing towards the end. I'm not going to give it away but this is definetly on my list of saddest films. I think that makes it better though and proves that Sandler can do more than just be stupid. Christopher Walken is his usual zany self and adds to the surreal world o fthe film (well, the remote is the surreal thing). Hasselhoff is surprisingly funny but mostly at his own expense. Michael's parents (Henry Winker and Julie Kavner) are very good characters, Winkler especially. Those two are one of the highlights of the film. Kate Beckinsale as Micheal's wife, Donna, is a bit generic for a wife character but Beckinsale does a good job none the less.

One of the best things abotu the film, and the main reason I like it, is just seeing what things the remote can do and how Michael uses these features. It normally leads to some hilarious moments and it's a clever idea that I dont think had been done before (I may be wrong about that what with living in a world where we get one original film a year). The plot provides some great twists and turns and, honestly, is in my top 10 favourite films. So, yeah, I enjoyed this.

Click was a very suprisingly film. I honestly thought that it would only be good for a quick laugh and, while it is pretty funny, it's much more than that. It's a deep film that provides some excellent emotional moments. The cast do a good job and the writing is very well done. It's not for everyone as there is still some Sandler-esque humour (and those who cry when watching films...) but all in all, it was a good film I will gladly watch again.

Verdict:
7.5/10
An enjoyable film that doesn't a lot of things right. The premise is unique, the cast is good and is surpisingly deep.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Robocop 3 (Fred Dekker, 1993) Review

Oh, what have I gotten myself into. Why is it that every film in the 80s and 90s had to have sequels and most of them were made into trilogies (Back To The Future and Home Alone for example). Okay, maybe this one won't be so bad...that's what I thought until I realised that this film wasn't an 18 like the other two were. It's only a 15...oh boy...does this hinder the film and make it worse. Let's find out.

So OCP is back on the scene again and it wants to rebuild Detroit as Delta City, a place which is pratcially a paradise. Oh, that sounds nice...except that the people won't leave their homes so OCP hires a mercenary group known as the Rehabs to destory the houses and force people out their homes. One family leaves their so-...dau-...child named Nikko (Remy Ryan) behind. Nikko runs into resistance group headed by Bertha (CCH Pounder) and Nikko's computing skills makes them an essential part of the group. In order to further their plans, OCP's president (Rip Torn) has their Japanese invester Kanemitsu (Mako) send someone over (Bruce Locke) to deal with the resistance. It's all well and good until an event happens (I'm not ruining it) that causes Robocop (Robert John Burke) to turn on OCP and join the resistance.

There's something that's just glaring at me. Where is Peter Weller? How can you make a film without the star?! It's all well and good for animated films where an actor is replaced (see Return of Jafar) but a live action film that was released in the cinema. They shouldn't have even bothered. And to answer the question I asked, yes, the 15 rating does hinder this film. One of the main points of Robocop was the violence and if you take that away, it just isn't as enjoyable. It doesn't even acknowledge the second film anyway!

The plot about the resistance is pretty stupid. In fact this is a stupid movie. The jetpack, Nikko's character, the scene with ED-209 (Yay, ED gets more screen time!) and Nikko's character. Yeah I said it twice, that's because h-...sh-..they annoy me! The villain (John Castle) is pretty bland and still doesn't even come close to Boddicker. I can't believe Frank Miller wrote this...it's just so...bleh. I'm not saying it's unwatchable, it's just...poor and ends up becoming the poor man's Dark Knight Rises (no, seriously, go back and watch this again. They are so similar!).

Robocop 3 was a pretty bad way to end a franchise. I don't know what they were thinking and it really shouldn't have been made. The action looks bad, there are some really bad mistakes (Robocop can apparently shatter glass BEFORE touching it), the characters are terrible and is just...bad. I would only recommend it if you want to see how the series end. Well, that's the Robocop series done and dusted. It's not like their remaking it or anything! Wait...Oh God.

Verdict:
4.5/10
A bad way to end the trilogy. The characters are terrible, the action isn't great, there are some terrible mistakes and just ends up looking bad. Skip it if you wish.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Robocop 2 (Irvin Kershner, 1990) Review

Hollywood loves to milk a good film doesn't it. If it exists, there's bound to be a sequel or remake shortly after. This was the case with Robocop, obviously since I'm revewing a film called Robocop 2. Sort of speaks for itself, doesn't it. Well, can Robocop provide another great film or does it fall in line with other 'films that aren't as good as the original' (I've review alot of those, trust me). Well then, let's find out (I swear that's my catchphrase now...).

With Robocop (Peter Weller) being a success, OCP begins its plans to continue with the project and make new Robocops. The results...are not good. In the meantime, a new drugs is introduced into the streets known as 'NUKE'. The person behind this is a criminal named Cain (Tom Noonan) who Robocop finds out is took much for him. In terms of OCP's problems, Dr. Faxx (Belinda Bauer) plans to use Cain for the Robocop 2 project (so technically the film is named after this...) while Robocop tries to take him down.

Yeah, this isn't as good as the first. I'm being blunt but that's the truth. Cain isn't as good a villain as Boddicker, the action isn't as good and there are some characters that I despise (and they have the gall to make their deaths emotional. NO! If you make a hateable character, their death should be satisfying! God damn it!). I was thinking "wow, I could watch the original again int his time". What's worse is that the best character from the first film, ED-209, only has a brief cameo! I wanted more!

It's not all bad though. The action is still good just not AS good as the first. There is one scene though that blew my mind. The end fight is probably the best use of stop-frame animation, ever. Sure ED-209 was cool but this had a whole stop-frame fight! There is also one scene that is actually really funny. At one point, Robocop is made politically correct...you can guess that it didn't quite work. Peter Weller is still good as Robocop but other previous characters are less than memorable.

Robocop 2 isn't as good as the original, by any means, but is still an okay film to watch. it's not like it's a bad film it's just, okay. There are some great scenes in this film but the characters fall short of the ones in the original (especially the villain). Sure, it's funnier but is that really worth sacrificing the good things in the original for a few laughs. I would only recommend it to those who liked the original and wants more Robocop action!

Verdict:
6.5/10
A dissapointly sequel. There are some good things in here but is under the shadow of the original.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) Review

I've done way too many trilogies recently. It's not my fault, it's Hollywood's! They pump out sequels like they have no other business. Well, anyway, the most recent in my line of trilogies is Robocop. Really, I've only seen this film recently and I guess you're wondering (if I even have any regulars...do I? Leave a comment once in a while!) if it was worth finally watching this film. Well, let's find out.

In a crime-ridden Detriot (so a normal Destroit), Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is the new cop in town (well, city but who cares?). His first investigation pits him against Clarence Boddicker(Kurtwood Smith) and his gang. Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) split off in Boddicker's base and Murphy comes face to face with him he has Murphy killed (rather horribly). Menawhile, an organisation called OCP is trying to find a way for robots to take over the police department. When a test for ED-209 goes horribly (and I mean horribly) wrong, 'The Old Man' (Dan O'Herlihy) who runs OCP has Bob Mortom (Miguel Ferrer) design the robot cop instead of Dick Jones' (Ronny Cox) ED-209. Murphy is reborn as 'Robocop' but first wants revenge on Boddicker and whoever is paying him.

I was actually pleasently suprised with this film. I have known of Robocop for years (I even had an action figure of him when I was young) yet I had no idea that it was rated 18 (again, because I had an action figure). It deserves the rating though since this is a very bloody and violent film. Murphy's death was just the beginning of the violent scenes (there is one especially horrible one involving toxic waste) but, you know what, it works. It's weird seeing an icon that kids can buy toys of actually originating from an 18 film. Weird. It works with the style of film though and has some solid action. Speaking of action, the ED-209's movement is entirely stop-frame animation and, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of stop-frame animation in any movie. It's amazing!

Robocop is a surprisingly engaging chracter. I thought he'd just be some badass Judge Dredd-esque character and, while he is exactly that, he has more development outside of just being badass. He's actually funny at times. He's a great protagonist (because 'hero' isn't the word I would use) and Peter Weller does a great job in the performance. Anne Lewis is an alright partner. She acts more like a plot device than anything else. If I had to pick a scene stealer though, it would be Boddicker. He is a great villain (which is something that msot films need: an engaging villain). He enjoys what he does, doesn't mind tossing men out of his own truck and doesn't seem to care when some of his henchmen are killed. He and Robocop are both funny characters and work well against each other.

Robocop was a nice surprise. While some people may see it as dated (that's debatable), it's still a fun watch for those who don't mind bloody, violent films. It's on a similar level as Licence To Kill (well, a little bit higher considering that was a 15) so if you liked that, you'll like this. The stop frame animation is still incredible today, the characters are great and well written (most of them, anyway) and is surpsingly funny. Well worth a watch if you like films like Licence To Kill.

Verdict:
8/10
A nice surprise. Great action, amazing stop-frame animation, good characters and a fun romp.

Monday, November 26, 2012

TMNT (Kevin Munroe, 2007) Review

You thought I was done with Ninja Turtles? HA! No, I was not. It seems that there was another adaptation in 2007 and it seems they took my advice and made in purly CGI. It also seems that they spent all their money of the CGI and couldn't afford rights to the full title (seriously, it says TMNT in the opening titles). If that's not a bad sign, I don't know what is. Well, does CGI help work in it's favour? Let's find out.

It would seem that after all the turtles have been through, they have split up...sort of. Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor) is now in Central America, Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) and Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) have gone into the world of business (gasp!) while Raphael (Nolan North) has become a vigilante known as the Nightwatcher. When an army of ancient creatures led by a man named Walker (Patrick Stewart), Master Splinter (Mako) brings the turtles together and, with the help of April O'Niel (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Casey Jones (Chris Evans), must stop this new evil.

Already I can stell that this looks much cooler. The costumes look stupid in comparison to the really cool CGI turtles. So, okay, we're off to a good start. The cast is also fantastic. Nolan North (who you might know as Desmond from Assassin's Creed, The Penguin in Arkham City or Deadpool) is a pretty damn good Raphael and I like the idea that he's become a masked vigilante considering he just wants to beat up bad guys. Leonardo, however, has been turned into the sort of 'Shadow the Hedgehog character'. Let me explain. Leonardo has become the serious, dark character that the fangirls will make depressing fanfiction about...I think I've gone too far this time.

So the cast is good and the characters are (majoritively...if that's even a word) better. There are many problems though. The plot is...a bit crap. I don't need to tell you that there are plot holes (that's the biggest argument against this film). The biggest crime though is the lack of any other classic character. No Shredder, Kraang, Baxter Stockman or anyone that you remember (or I've already ranted about in previous reviews). I guess the 'TMNT' is because they only bought a bit of the licence...sheesh.

So all in all, TMNT isn't a bad film. I would recommend it over other Ninja Turtle films (except maybe the first one) and I did enjoy watching it. There are many, many flaws but it's not like they break the film. Most people haven't seen it but if you like the Ninja Turtles, I would recommend it. Well, we finally got through the Ninja Turtles films (about time). Join me next time where we dive into another film franchise. Want a clue? Okay: "I'd buy THAT for a dollar!"

Verdict:
6/10
An all-round, enjoyable film. It has it's flaws but is watchable. A good film nonetheless.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (Stuart Gillard, 1993) Review

I knew I shouldn't have reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was a big mistake! Why? Because now I have to review THIS film! Augh...this is going to be a short introduction, let's just get it out of the way. *Places head on desk* eeehhhh....

After the events of the second film, the Ninja Turtles (Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Raphael (Tim Kelleher), Donatello (Corey Feldman) an Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist)) find a magic sceptar which ends up sending the turtles back in time to ancient Japan. While there, they learn the art of Samurai fighting. Just as well considering that there's an evil Samurai in the area. They decide to assist a village in it's attempt to rise up against the Samurai.

This film's crap. It really is. After revisting this film to review it, I was surprised to see Splinter (James Murray), Casey (Elias Koteas) and April (Paige Turco) appear considering that it doesn't feel like a Ninja Turtles film. Shedder doesn't return (he didn't survive wood falling on him yet he can survive being in a garbage crusher) and there is no other villain from the show like Kraang or Baxter Stockman. This film doesn't need to exist and it shouldn't. It has no business being a Ninja Turtles film.

The turtles actually look even worse than ever AND the action got worse. Everything just deteriated from the second film. I will say that it does have some very nice locations and the characters to wear cool costumes, so it's not a total failure. There are some funny moments, which is par for the course with Ninja Turtles films. Other than that? Yeah, it's crap.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is a terrible way to end this series. Then again, it never was an amazing franchise to begin with. Who do I recommend this to? People who have already seen it...and liked it. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who liked this film...don't watch this if you haven't. It's bad. Well, it's been ages since I did a bad film review...I think I'll do another one soon enough (in a couple of weeks).

Verdict:
3/10
A terrible film that doesn't really embrace the whole 'Ninja Turtles' licence. What was the point? There wasn't one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (Michael Pressman, 1991) Review

Oh yeah, I forgot there was a sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The 90s was famous was the pinnacle of making sequels around kids films (now it's just standard...) which...usually isn't anything special. This film is your typical 90s sequel and, considering that this was the Ninja Turtles, it did well considering kids would want to see this. Is this just in it forth money or is it actually quite good...I'm pretty sure you can guess.

In this film, the ninja turtles (Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Raphael (Laurie Faso), Donatello (Adam Carl) and Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist)) discover the ooze that created them and their master Splinter (Kevin Clash). The turtles find out where the ooze is being made and try to find out 'the secret of the ooze' (you know, that is the title after all). The problem? Shredder (François Chau) has survived being crushed in a garbage crusher (and with no explanation....this is not a good sign) and he too wishes to find the ooze's origin to create mutants to fight for him. Now the turtles must stop Shredder from obtaining the ooze.

Can I just address one of my biggest pet peeves with this film? The characters Tokka (Kurt Bryant) and Rahzar (Mark Ginther). These two are mutants that become enemies of the turtles. Why do I hate them? Because they should just be Bebop and Rocksteady. They are established characters n the show so just use them! They're basically the same characters! The biggest problem though is that they tried to make the turtles more kid friendly. Yes, it is based on a cartoon but the first film set up a much darker world for them to be in. Now they've changed their mind and...it doesn't work. It just comes off as stupid.

I'm gonna ruin the ending here because it bugs me so much! In the ending, Shredder uses the ooze on himself and becomes Super Shredder (Kevin Nash). Now that is cool and even becomes a bit scary since we never see him as the battle takes place under a board walk and therefore can't see him fully. The board-walk collapses on him and...that's it. He's dead. What a terrible waste of potential. Yes, I am holding it against the film. It wastes SO MUCH potential in general and therefore ruins it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II is a much worse film to the first. The first film did the franchise justice and made it it's own by making it much darker. The sequel, however, ruins this world and wastes all the great ideas they had. I'm not saying this is the worst film ever but it's not the best either (absolutely nowhere near) but it's just underwhelming.

Verdict:
5/10
Ruining the world that the first made and wasting all the potential that it could have had.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Steve Barron, 1990) Review

Did you know that there was a reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon that started this year...and it's AWESOME! I'm a huge fan of the new series and I feel that it surpasses the original but how's the live action movie hold up? Well, I guess it's time to go back the sewers to revisit the pizza-eating ninja legends (for someone who has never heard of the Ninja Turtles, this must sound insane...and that's because it is).

Underneath the city of New York, a strange substance simply known to as Ooze gets into the sewers and genetically mutates four baby turtles being looked after by an old man who is also mutated. The turtles become human sized anthropomorphised turtles while the old man is turned into a human sized anthropomorphised rat. The rat, know going by the name Splinter (Kevin Clash), takes in the turtles and names them after the renaissance artists, Raphael (Josh Pais), Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Donatello (Corey Feldman) and Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist), and trains them in the art of ninjutsu. A villain, named Shredder (James Saito) begins to try and take over the world and the Ninja Turtles have to stop Shredder in his tracks.

Let's face it, the Ninja Turtles were HUUUGE in the 80s and 90s so it only made sense that a film be made of it...not quite sure why it was live action but I guess it just makes it more epic (it's based on the comic more than the series). First things first, the costumes (yes, costumes) used actually work quite well and look okay...they haven't aged that well to be honest but I guess it's understandable. Sure they are cool (they're the freaking turtles!) and still look cool. At least there is a bit of variety other than just colour swaps. From now on, make all your Ninja Turtle movies CGI.

Shredder looks surprisingly awesome in this film. His transition into live action actually worked. He's actually evil in this film and not...whiny like he was in the series (but the new series trumps all of them in terms of evil). April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) did not transfer as well. It looks like she's wearing a rain coat instead of a jumpsuit...kind of a big deal. It's not all bad, the action is pretty damn...'radical' (that word died in the 90s...deal with it). It's a ninja film so it's obvious that ninjutsu will be used alot. It screams "THIS IS THE 90s!" but I guess that's the novelty of it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does it's job of making a adaptation of the show/comic. It was a dark film (they say "damn" a lot and it was surprisingly violent) but the biggest problem is that it REALLY hasn't aged well. This film is for the nostalgic fans only. I would probably watch this if I'm in the mood for some cheesy 90s...stuff (I don't even...)

Verdict:
7/10
A good attempt at adapting the classic series but it just hasn't aged well. There are some good things though, it's not all bad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Tad Stones, 1996) Review

And since Aladdin was SOOO popular, it warrented another sequel. I guess they wanted to tie everything up with a proper trilogy. Well, Return of Jafar wasn't exactly the worst Disney film ever so I guess this one can't be too bad right...right? Well then, let's get this out of the way. Is Aladdin and the King of Thieves good? Let's find out!

So after two films, Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and Jasmine (Linda Larkin) are FINALLY getting married (took them long enough). Just before the ceremony can finish, the forty thieves invade and wreck the place. Aladdin fights off the king of thieves (John Rhys-Davies) and finds a magic sceptar that grants an answer to any question. Aladdin decides to ask where his father is. The answer? His father is the king of thieves! Aladdin, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) and Abu (Frank Welker) travel to the thieves base where Aladdin is pitted against Saluk (Jerry Orbach), the ruthless second in command. Saluk is thought to be killed by Aladdin but survives but wants revenge on Aladdin and his dad, named Cassim. Cassim wants to find a fabled object known as the Hand of Midas which turns everything it touches to gold (love it!). However, Saluk wants to find it first. It's a race against time as Aladdin and Cassim face off against Saluk.

First things first, this is a far superior film to Return of Jafar. The animation, while still not as good as the original, is actually really good. The characters are still good (especially the new ones like Cassim and Saluk) and are much better than Abis Mal (less said about him, the better) and the cast only helps this. The veteran actors are the same but John Rhys-Davies is excellent as Cassim (although I feeling the character was written for Sean Connery...just me?) and Jerry Orbach brings a great villainous character. The star of the show is still Genie though. The best part? He's voiced by Robin Williams again! He is truly on the ball in this film and is better than ever before. He's freaking hilarious! I do miss Jafar though...he was one of Disney's best villains.

That's not the say this film is perfect. It just doesn't look as good as the first film and, while characters like Genie and Iago are fantastic, the characters don't hold up as well. I mean, they're good...just not THAT good. The songs? They're alright. As always, Genie holds the best songs but there are more than just one good song. Sure, they're not as memorable as the first films songs but they are still pretty damn good. 'Welcome to the Forty Thieves' is still pretty stupid though...

Aladdin and the King of Thieves was a good way to finish the franchise but I feel that the last one should usually either the best one or the worst one, thus killing the franchise. This one is an exception as it's not the worst or the best in the trilogy. Many people haven't seen it but if you liked the first film, then you will like this one too.

Verdict:
7.5/10
A good way to finish off the trilogy. Robin Williams returns (HELL YEAH!), there are new characters that are great and the animation is almost as good as the original.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Return of Jafar (Toby Shelton, Tad Stones and Alan Zaslove, 1994) Review

And when there's a successful Disney film, there is almost always a direct-to-video sequel (in the 90s at least). Most of the time they were...crap, to say the least. This was normally because they couldn't be bothered to get the same actors back or usually looks much, much worse in comparison. So Disney decided to release a sequel Aladdin called The Return of Jafar. Is it as bad as other Disney sequels? Let's find out!

After being imprisoned in Jafar's (Jonathan Freeman) lamp, his parrot Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) manages to escape but leaves Jafar behind because of the abuse he gets from him. Iago heads to Agrabah to find Aladdin (Scott Weinger) is now living in the palace with Jasmine (Linda Larkin) and the Sultan (Val Bettin). Iago tries to win over Aladdin and ends up saving his life. Aladdin hides Iago in the palace so he can prepare to reveil them to Jasmine and the Sultan...thye are less than pleased. In the meantime, Genie (Dan Castellaneta)  is back from his world trip since he realised what he's been missing: Aladdin and Jasmine! Meanwhile, the incompetent thief Abis Mal (Jason Alexander) finds Jafar's lamp and awakens him. They both share a hatred of Aladdin and team up in order to ruin his life (since genie's can't kill...but you'll be surprised what you can live through).

You may have noticed something. There's no Robin Williams. Apparently he got a little angry at Disney and left. To his credit, Dan Castellaneta does do a good job of covering for him. Sure it's not perfect but it's good enough. The other actors are the same except the Sultan who is now voiced by Val Bettin who you may remember from Basil, The Great Mouse Detective where he voiced Dr. Dawson. It's basically the same voice and character so...not much difference really. The animation definitely doesn't live up to the previous one. Things don't look as nice and the colours seem...a bit off.

I'm glad that they brought Jafar back since he's one of the best Disney villains and it's about time that he got a villain song...although it could have been better. The songs in this aren't as memorable as the previous film. The only one I like is "Like a Friend" just because Genie sings it. His songs are always great! This film isn't perfect and it doesn't even hold a candle to the original (that saying goes way over my head...). I'm pretty sure the only reason it exists is because it sets up the animated series...so, yeah!

The Return of Jafar is much better than other Disney sequels such as Cinderella II or Kronk's New Groove but it is certainly nowhere near to how good the original film is. I'm not saying it's a bad film since I will gladly watch it but it's just...above average. Well then, join me next time where we finish off another trilogy...oh, yeah. There's a third Aladdin film...

Verdict:
6/10
A decent sequel to Aladdin. The cast, while missing the original, is okay and the story is surprisingly well written.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992) Review

Yeah so, I'm in a Disney mood. I guess that's what happens when I review Basil, The Great Mouse Detective. I went on record (if anyone was keeping track or...caring) that Basil was one of my favourite Disney films. Now that we're deep into the Disney Renaissance (I may have missed...all of the other ones), let's see if Aladdin truly deserves to be among the other great Disney films.

Set in the Arabian city of Agrabah, we see a lowly "street-rat" (I pretty sure this film coined that phrase) called Aladdin (Scott Weinger) who is on the run from the city's guards. Typical day for him, I'm sure. We then get a look inside the palace in Agrabah where the Sultan (Douglas Seale) is trying to find a husband for his daughter, Jasmine (Linda Larkin). The Sultan's advisor, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) is trying to obtain a special lamp in 'The Cave of Wonders' (Frank Welker...yes it speaks) and uses Aladdin to try and get it. He ultimatly fails which gives Aladdin access to the Genie of the lamp (Robin Williams) and tries to win over Jasmine. So it's a battle of Aladdin against Jafar as they try to win over Jasmine.

This is easily one of the best looking Disney films. The colours are great, the characters are well designed and the animation is fluent. They really went above and beyond with this one. Of course, the voice acting helps too. Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin add some much needed depth to their characters while Jonathan Freeman plays a terrifyingly evil Jafar. There are two show stealers though. Robin Williams as Genie and Gilbert Gottfried as Jafar's talking parott, Iago (get it?! It's a Shakespeare reference!). Robin Williams proves his comedic worth by showing off his ability to chance voices in a split second while Gilbert Gottfried gives his usual wise cracking remarks with his trademark voice (hearing him read Fifty Shades of Grey was fantastic).

As with Disney films (but ironically, none of the ones I've reviewed), there always has to be musical numbers and Aladdin doesn't skimp out here. Of course there are the classics like A Whole New World and Arabian Nights but that's just for starters. Other great ones are Never Had a Friend Like Me and Prince Ali. Some of my favourite Disney songs stem from this film alone. They are all plot relevent (thank God) which only makes the plot better. It's definetly more action orientated than previous Disney films but it works here (and led to some games based on it...which were AWESOME!).

Aladdin is easily another one of the greatest Disney films. It's my favourite next to Basil, The Great Mouse Detective. It looks incredible, the characters are well voiced and written, the songs are memorable and all comes together as one of the greatest animated films of all time. I would say that I recommend it but really, I don't have to. You should have watched this WAY before I reviewed it and if you haven't, then you got some real issues to sort of out, mister.

Verdict:
9.5/10
A fantastic looking film that relies on some well acted and written characters to drive a great narrative.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Basil, The Great Mouse Detective (Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener and John Musker, 1986) Review

I have been doing these reviews for quite a while now and it's just come to my attention that I haven't reviewed a Disney film (Well, Emperor's New Groove and A Goofy Movie...aw well)! Shocking, I know but at least I've done a few Pixar films...but it's not the same. So what am I doing? Something popular like The Lion King or Hunchback of Notre Dame? No. No I'm not. I'm doing a film that I feel is criminally underrated and the true beginning to the Disney Renaissance: Basil, The Great Mouse Detective.

In Victorian England (and, for the record, everyone is a rodent...so get used to that), a famous toymaker (Alan Young) is kidnapped by a bat named Fidget (Candy Candido), leaving the toymaker's daughter Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) behind. She tries to find the home of a famous detective and, with the help of Dr. Dawson (Val Bettin), manages to convince the detective, Basil of Baker Street (Barrie Ingham), to help. Basil discovers that Fidget is working for the worlds greatest criminal mind, Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price). Basil must now stop Ratigan from taking over England and rescue Olivia's father.

If you haven't guessed, this is based on Sherlock Holmes...actually it's based on a series of books called Basil of Baker Street...but that, in turn, is based on Sherlock Holmes. While it may seem like a cheap parody just for the sake of entertaining kids but it's actually very accurate. If you can see the reference to the Holmes story 'The Final Problem', then you...erm...I dunno but it's still so awesome that they clearly did their research. I love Sherlock Holmes and I love this film.

Basil is one of the greatest Disney protagonists ever. He's such a arrogant jerk that he is actually a very likeable character. Barrie Ingham does a fantastic job as Basil and I just wish that he did more things. He puts so much into the role and it really shows! Dawson acts as a good foil for Basil and Val Bettin brings his usual 'nice guy' routine. HE'S JUST SO LOVABLE. The character that really stood out though is the villain, Ratigan. Vincent Price is probably the main reason that he's so memorable but the idea of a character with so much rage inside yet still makes himself look composed. It's brilliant!

Basil, The Great Mouse Detective is the TRUE first film of the Disney Renaissance. It's also the first proper use of CGI in a Disney film (in an amazing scene). This isn't really a kids film (it's one of the darker Disney films) but it still kicks ass. The characters are great, the action is great, the music is great and the finale is, oh, it's so beautiful! My favourite finale in a Disney film...maybe even ANY film! Lots of people haven't seen this film and that's a real shame. Watch this now!

Verdict:
9/10
One of the best Disney animated films. The characters are fantastic, the story is good and everything is just so awesome! Nothing short of brilliant!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (Pete Michels, Peter Shin, 2005) Review

What's that. This isn't a proper film? It's just three episodes back to back? Well screw you, it's my review so...erm...deal with it? *shrug*. Anyway, Family Guy is one of the most popular TV shows (don't argue) and it only seemed naturally that a feature length Family Guy story would be released. While episodes like 'Road to the North Pole' are feature length, they weren't really advertised as a movie. This one was so I'm reviewing. It counts!

After having a near death experience at a pool, Stewie Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) has a vision of Hell and decides to change his ways...which doesn't last long. Having given up, Stewie sees a man of TV that is a striking resembelnce to him and believes him to be his real father instead of Peter (Seth MacFarlane). Stewie and the family dog, Brian (guess who...Seth MacFarlane) set off with their neighbour Quagmire (...do I even need to say the voice actor?) in order to find out who exactly this man is. Meanwhile, Peter and Lois (Alex Borstein) try to teach their other kids, Chris (Seth Green) and Meg (Mila Kunis), how to date.

Yes, I am a fan of the series and, yes, I do think that this film is very funny. It does it's job of being hilarious with some very memorable and quotable moments (WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MEN!) . It's great to see an interesting and clever story surrounding one of the greatest cartoon characters in recent history (again, don't argue). There are many ways that a feature length Family Guy adventure could take (especially what the 'Road To' episodes have shown) and, while I feel they could have done more, I wasn't disappointed. The sub-plot is a bit wasted yet is still funny and it does serve purpose to the main plot outside of a quick gag.

Problems? Erm...I guess if you don't like the show, then you won't like this "film". It's just an extra long episode of the show really (or, to be more accurate, three episodes joined together to form one extra long one) so it fits in well with the other stories seen on the show...although the status quo says otherwise (contiunity? what contiunity?).

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is a clever film that, while crudly funny, does it's job of supplying entertainment for a feature length film. If you love the show, you will love this film just as much but if you despise Family Guy, you may want to skip this film. It's a matter of preference but since I love Family Guy, this is a fun film to watch despite it's flaws.

Verdict:
8/10
A bit of a cop out seeing as it's just three episodes joined together, it does it's job of suppliying over an hour of great entertainment.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Soldiers (Joe Dante, 1998) Review

Hey everyone, let's ride on Toy Story's fame! How about we make a film about toys that come to life! The main difference being that there is a REASON to why the toys are alive. Kudos to that, I guess. This film is easily the action version of Toy Story as opposed to the family friendly film of Toy Story but which films is better? It's pretty damn obvious but let's take a look at Small Soldiers anyway...just because I can!

Two new waves of action figures are released to the world: The Commando Elites and The Gorgonites. The catch? These toys have been installed with a chip that brings them to life...and are at war. The leader of the Gorgonites, Archer (Frank Langella), befriends a 15 year old kid, Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith), but the leader of the Commando Elites, Chip Hazard (Tommy Lee Jones), is in pursuit of the Gorgonites and anyone affiliated with them. This sparks an all out war between the two toys's (grammar spasm) army with Adam and his friends and family caught in the middle.

Interesting concept (a little bit stolen from Toy Story though) but...not the best execution. It's half CGI and half actual toys which leads to the CGI becoming very distracting. Sure it looks good but it becomes a bit shocking when it switches...eh. Also there is a waste of talent. Tommy Lee Jones, while good in this film, seems a bit wasted. David Cross and Jay Mohr as the toy makers are some of my favourite characters though. ALSO the Gorgonites are ungodly annoying. There's a fine line between cooky and annoying...this goes over it.

It's not all bad though. Like I said, the CGI is good and there are some generally enjoyable characters and moments. Plus it has a very satisfying ending that, while a bit predictable, is also great to watch. It's action fuelled and the way that the Commando Elites make their own weapons, MacGyver style! The action is thrilling and fun to watch. This film also is quite funny...I guess.

Small Soldiers is an okay film. While the idea of a toy war is pretty epic and it does offer some great moments, it just feels a bit.....eh. It's above average, that's for sure, but that's about the best I can say. Would I recommend it?........probably. It is fun to watch but it's not that amazing. I enjoy it but that's all. Well, I haven't done a bad film in a while (we had a 10, 9 and 9.5 in a row!)...I'll think of one.

Verdict:
6/10
An above average action (alliteration!) film that is fun to watch but isn't anything special...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012) Review

So I saw this film quite a while back yet I never got round to reviewing it mainly because I was stuck in the middle of reviewing all 23 Bond films. I know I've said this a lot but other than The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall, this was one of my most anticipated films of the year. Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt had previously worked together on a film called Brick (I reviewed it quite a while back) and since I enjoyed that film, I figured their second film together would be better. Was I right? Let's find out!

Time travel has not been invented yet but in 30 years time, it will have been. Organisations who need someone dead send them back in time to be killed by people known as Loopers. Joe (Joeseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper who finds that his next target is quite a weird one. It's him in 30 years time! Old Joe (Bruce Willis) escapes and goes out searching for a child who will one day be known as The Rainmaker who ruins Joe's life in the future. Young Joe finds out who the targets are and vows to protect Sara (Emily Blunt) and her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Meanwhile, the head of the Loopers, Abe (Jeff Daniels), sends agents out to find both Joes and kill them.

If it weren't for the fact that Rian Johnson was directing, I would have probably not have heard of this film...which would have been bad. I was glad I did watch this film! Time travel is quite a tricky idea to get right (Back To The Future is probably the best example of getting it right) but Looper managed to get it right! It was a great concept that reminds me of Back To The Future Part II but time paradoxes are always fun! Rian Johnson, well done. Two for two! It's really escalated from Brick (drugs, basically) and it's fantastic.

The casting is great! Personally, when Bruce Willis was announced as Old Joe, I was sceptical. Willis and Joesph Gordon-Levitt look nothing alike...until this film. Gordon-Levitt had some make-up done that allowed him to look like a young Bruce Willis and it's totally believable! You did good, make-up department (Oscar?). Also, if I asked you who the scairest kid in films was, who wuld you say? Heather O'Rourke from Poltergeist? Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense? How about Pierce Gagnon from Looper. This kid freaks me out and he does a great job in this film! Emily Blunt is good too.

Looper is, so far, the hidden gem of the year. I loved this film. The concept is great, the script is well written, the casting is good and the action is fun to watch. It was also surprisingly funny. The ending was shocking as hell but let's not ruin it here. Do yourself a favour and watch this film. It's one of my favourite films of the year and is, hopefully, a new classic for the ages.

Verdict:
9.5/10
An original film (finally) which has a great concept, casting, action, story, script and is overall a great film. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) Review

Yeah, I lied. In my review of Skyfall, I said that my next review will be a new film I saw last month...and then I noticed that it was Halloween. So...er...Happy Halloween! While this film isn't that scary (well I guess that depends who you are) but that doesn't stop me from watching this every Halloween (except last year since my family wanted to watch Sleepy Hollow...maybe later) so...HERE'S JOHNNY!......let's just review this...

Over the winter, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are assigned to be caretakers of the Overlook Hotel which is away from civilisation (so I fail to see why people would go there...). Danny begins to have visions of the hotels past as a result of his telepathic gift known as The Shining. Jack, while working on his writing, begins to fall into insanity as a result of the isolated environment and of the previous people in the hotel. When Jack meets with the ghosts of the hotel, he finally snaps and tries to kill his family. Now Danny must use The Shining in order to save his mother and get out of the hotel alive.

This is one of Jack Nicholson's best roles and one of Stanley Kubrick's best films. Jack Nicholson became iconic for this film (that image at the top alone is one of the most famous movie shots of all time) and his line "Here's Johnny" is one of the most famous lines ever. So, yeah, this is a very famous and popular film...for good reason. It plays with your mind and has such an ambigous nature, you can come up with loads of different outcomes or scenarios. Was the film in Jack's mind? Is Jack a reincarnated person from the hotel? Is Danny delirious? WHO KNOWS? It's left un-addressed and works very well.

In term of the horror, for a first time watcher, it's pretty scary. If you haven't watched this, don't look it up online. Watch it from start to finish so that everything is a surprise! There are some great moments that will have you on the edge of your seat! Jack's spiral into insanity is well done and makes for some great character development. I've seen it too many times for it to scare me but there are still bits that send shivers down my spine. I guess this film will live on for a while (hell, it's still great 32 years later!).

The Shining is truly a classic! Jack Nicholson is fantastic and the writing is great. There is some iconic things here that will go down in movie history...well...HAS gone down in movie history. If you haven't seen this film, you might as well watch it this Halloween. It's pretty scary and is exactly what I would want to see in a Halloween film...well...a contemporary one (no monsters here, in the conventional sense). HAPPY HALLOWEEN! MWAHAHAHAHAAAAA! (sorry). Okay, next time is that film I promised, okay? 2nd of November.

Verdict:
9/10
A great film for Halloween. Jack Nicholson is great and the writing and directing is fantastic. Do yourself a favour and watch it this year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012) Review

Well it's finally time to review the newest Bond film! After battling it's way through development hell, it finally get's to see the light of day! This marks the first Bond film I've ever seen in the cinema and, no, this is not a continuation of Quantum of Solace. This is a separate story and that's the way it SHOULD be! Well, with that terrible introduction out the way (sorry...), let's get right down to it: Skyfall! YEAH!

When a hard drive containing the identity of every NATO undercover agent is stolen, Bond (Daniel Craig) and his field assistant Eve (Naomi Harris) are in pursuit of the thief but lose him after Bond is shot by Eve under orders of M (Judi Dench). The world believes Bond to be dead but when the MI6 building is blown up, Bond returns to duty in order to deal with the amazing computer hacker Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) who wants revenge on M for what she did to him. Now Bond's loyalty to M is tested as a result of Silva's mind games. In a subplot, M is forced to retire under orders of Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).

Daniel Craig has now officially cemented himself as James Bond. CONGRATULATIONS! Shut up Craig haters, go watch this one. It's also good to see Bond face a contemporary villain like Silva (who might be my new favourite Bond villain) who is insane as hell. Zorin from A View to a Kill is the type of crazy that is subtle and is unpredictable but Silva...geez...this guy is something else. I hear that Sam Mendes took inspiration from Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight and it only adds to the amazing...ment of this film. I was sceptical of Naomi Harris in this film but I'm glad I was wrong. She is one of my favourite Bond girls! Also, the new Q (Ben Whishaw) is a welcome addition to the Bond franchise.

This was the most thrilling Bond film I have ever seen. The suspense of what was going to happen was killing me...AND I LOVE IT! The whole third act is incredible! I was shaking at the awe inspiring action and the fantastic climax that the film came to...and I was not disappointed! I had a wish list of what I wanted to see and everything was there! It was great to see M get on the front lines (the closest she got was in The World Is Not Enough) and also letting Tanner (Rory Kinnear) make an impact for once and not just a waste of space. He now has a sort of 'Agent Coulson' role....I like him. Everything is incredible and surpasses previous ones!

Skyfall was exactly what I wanted in a Bond film. Sorry Goldeneye, looks like you have new competition! Skyfall is the new definitive Bond film that its successors will have to live up to! Let's give Bond a PROPER Oscar for once. Best actor? script? director?....film? It has everything in this film. Comedy, action, romance and even some major tear jerker moments. Emotion is the best way to make your film great and it worked here. Hell, it worked for Men In Black III! Well, that's every Bond film FINALLY reviewed. It took a while but we did it! Join me next time and we can get back to my proper schedule and to kick it off is a film that I saw a while ago but missed because of these Bond films...

Verdict:
10/10
A incredible film that blew my mind. A great villain, top notch action, an amazing plot and...just everything! The new definitive Bond film and the perfect way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bond!

LET THE SKYFALL! WHEN IT CRUMBLES, WE WILL STAND TAAAALL AND FACE IT ALL, TOGETHER AT SKYFALL!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster, 2008) Review

And here we have the only direct sequel in the Bond franchise. It was a bold step but there was much of the story left to resolve. So the darker, more action orientated take on Bond that Daniel Craig managed to pull off surprisingly well. Does a new idea in the Bond world work or not? Let's find out!

When we last left Bond (Daniel Craig), he had been betrayed by Vesper who died in the process. Now Bond wants revenge on a organisation called Quantum. Bond finds that Quantum is linked with a man named Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who wishes to take over a part of Bolivia so that some clients of his can use it for themselves. Bond teams up with Camille (Olga Kurylenko) to try and take down Greene and Quantum since the CIA have chosen to ignore this. M (Judi Dench) is unsure if she can trust a revenge fuelled Bond but only time will tell if he will succeed.

I feel that this was much more action driven. There was lots of action last time, that's for sure, but there were lots of moments otherwise. All I remember specifically is action. The opening car chase, the chase later on, the finale etcetera...and while that's good and all, that was only part of what makes Bond so good. The Bond girls (which are alright), the villain (not very memorable), the cars (this one has a very nice one) and the gadgets (...non existent this time, I'm afraid). Still, Craig is good as Bond and the action is pretty good...plus I love me some revenge plots (Licence to Kill for example).

I feel all the REALLY good stuff went into Casino Royale. Sure, Quantum of Solace is good but it's not AS good as Casino Royale. Olga Kurylenko is very good but was it just me or did the other Bond girl, Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), die in a rip off of Goldfinger? How do you rip off yourself?! Dominic Greene is okay, I guess. Once again, they missed out on a classic Bond finale. While Bond DID fight Greene, he didn't finish him off...aw well. At least they tried.

Quantum of Solace is a decent sequel to one of the best Bond films. The action is good, Daniel Craig is still a great Bond and it finishes off what Casino Royale started. It's not as good as Casino Royale but it's good enough. Anyway, join me on my next review of one of my most aniticipated films of the year: Skyfall (when it crumbles, we will stand taaaaall and face it all!)

Verdict:
8/10
A good sequel to Casino Royale. It continues some of the great things from that film but misses just a few aspects that made the previous one so good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006) Review

Well, that's enough of Pierce Brosnan I think. It's time for a new Bond! How about Daniel Craig? No? WELL TOO BAD! Right off the bat I noticed something wrong...this is a prequel. I don't accept it as one and will therefore not approach this review thinking it's one. This is a continuation...YES IT IS! Anyway, let's see how well a new Bond works in this next film!

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is sent to investigate a criminal banker named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Le Chiffre is trying to win back his money in a poker game in Montenegro and M (Judi Dench) sends Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to win the game and prevent Le Chiffre from winning. Le Chiffre has some dangerous connections so if Bond and Vesper, they could wind up dead. It's a dangerous game that Bond has got himself into.

I was very sceptical of Craig playing Bond but he actually pulled it off very well. Clearly he was inspired by Timothy Dalton as his films have a more action orientated approach to things. Despite his, the best scenes in this film are actually the poker game scenes that frame the story. The whole story centres around it and everything else that happens is in between games. I love the structued narrative of this film. It's great! Vesper is also one of the best Bond girls yet and Le Chiffre is very threatening. There is a lot of good things in this one.

The action is some of the best in the series, which is what you expect from a more recent film. The early scene where Bond chases that guy on the cranes is great! I felt a bit copped out though that there wasn't an epic finale fight with the villain that previous Bond films have done. They were always by favourite scenes. For that, it misses out on being the best. Goldeneye's finale was arguably the best scene in the film so it's sad that Casino Royale did not have it. Also, where are Q and Moneypenny. Don't give me the whole 'it's a prequel' crap. Why is M a woman then since it's implied she's the first female M in the MI6 in Goldeneye. Also in Skyfall, Q says he's Bond's 'new' quartermaster...anway, I'm not letting that sour this film.

Casino Royale is the best Bond film since Goldeneye. Daniel Craig is a good choice for a modern Bond, the action is top notch, the new characters are really good and this film really is one of the best. I was very sceptical but it's good to be wrong sometimes. The ending is great, by the way and it's one of the only Bond films which carries on (Diamonds are Forever carries on from On Her Majesty's Secret Service...sort of).

Verdict:
9/10
A fantastic Bond film. The action is amazing, the new Bond is awesome and everything just comes together as awesome...er!